Taking pictures of animals is not something you can improvise! In fact, you should know that animal photography is a discipline in its own right, in that it requires specific skills. And just because you are going to photograph wild animals at the zoo doesn’t mean it will be easier… Follow our tips to take memorable animal photos at the zoo! Maybe you’ll even win a photography award, like Eric Pillot did (more info here: https://www.canalacademies.com/emissions/affinites-electives/in-situ-etats-unis-une-reflexion-photographique-tendre-et-ironique-a-travers-les-zoos-americains).
Beware of disruptive elements
Nothing is more frustrating for a photographer than to see an unwanted element in his photo. At the zoo, this disturbing element has a name: the fence! Because you will not have missed the fact that most of the animals are in cages in a zoo. So how do you get around this problem? The solution is obvious: use a telephoto lens of at least 50 mm, which has the gift of minimizing the depth of field. Our advice: make sure you open the aperture wide, then bring the lens closer to the fence. However, this technique should not be used with a wide angle lens. Why not? Because the greater depth of field will cause the fence to show.
Get a nice portrait with a wide aperture
A wide aperture will allow you to isolate your subject, so you can make a beautiful portrait. So beautiful that few people will suspect that the photo was taken in a zoo, because there is nothing in the image to suggest this. If you want to take this type of portrait, you will need to get a 90 mm telephoto lens, then switch to aperture priority mode. Then choose a wide aperture to minimize the depth of field, but also to create a background blur. In case you use a shallower depth of field, your control over the blur will be limited.
What about tight shots?
If some animals at the zoo are easy to take pictures of because they are rather motionless, others are much less so and do not stop moving. So you need to be patient, adopt an observational posture to capture the right moment. It is also a good idea to use a telephoto lens which allows you to frame the picture rather tightly, the idea being to freeze the animal’s expression.